Site Work for Aug 18 2011

While it may not look like it, some extensive site work has been done today. The majority of it is backend stuff, but there are a few publicly noticeable changes as well. The most noticeable change should be the navigation menu update. If you’re concerned about your privacy, don’t worry, the privacy policy still exists, but it has now been moved under About to save space. The second change to the menu is the new me menu. The me menu is designed to make account management easier with easily accessible login/out, register, and management links. One thing you may notice about the new me menu is that it includes some off-site links that are used to create and manage an account for commenting. As mentioned before, FHNWRK uses the Disqus commenting system for comments, which is widely used by many other sites on the internet. On FHNWRK, Disqus has been configured to allow commenting as a guest, with a Disqus Profile, or login via Twitter, Facebook, etc. The me menu includes links for Disqus Profile creation and management.

In sidebar changes, the What’s Hot box has been removed due to a code break caused by a theme code update. I’m looking into fixing it, but for now the feature and box are broken and have been pulled. The same update is what also caused post ratings to break. Those have also been temporarily pulled.

As for backend changes, I’m hoping to eventually replace the share buttons on every post with a single set that will always float on the side of the page. The floating share bar is already live, but does not currently include a button for Google+ nor does it show the number of times something has been shared. This is mainly attributed to the fact that the floating share bar is a beta product from ShareThis and is still under development. As a result, this currently leaves me with two options: wait for an update from ShareThis or replace it. I am actually looking into the latter and do already have a plugin to do so. However, the theme I’m currently using on here is extremely stubborn when it comes to playing nicely with plugins that use jQuery and/or add footer code. So, again, I’m stuck with a few options: try and hack the theme, look for another plugin, or switch to another theme. All three of those options are currently equally difficult. The theme I’m currently using on here is called Platform, which is coded very differently than most WordPress themes, mainly because it also works very differently. Platform is intended to be a WISWIG layout editor. That said, it does do what it is advertised as doing, but it is limited in what it can do. There is a Pro version, but that starts at $100. Not quite in my budget.

As a result, I have begun looking for a replacement for Platform. I’m looking for something that at least looks similar in terms of design and that fits my budget (free does the best right now). However, I’ve yet to find anything suitable, which I’ve always considered one of WordPress’ biggest issues. To be blunt, most of them suck. So why don’t I code my own? For other WP-based sites I’ve launched and run, I have, bassed off existing themes. I’d do the same for here, but I haven’t found anything suitable.

Long story short, a lot of the backend stuff done today is for things I’d like to include in the future, such as that new floating share bar, a floating me menu, and the return of post ratings and view counts. All of these are currently held up due to theme restrictions. I’m hoping to fix that soon, but I’ve yet to find anything. If you have a tip for a good WordPress theme, I’d greatly appreciate it.

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